On my wrist I have a tattoo. It’s very simple. It’s the space symbol from a keypad, basically an elongated staple. It is a mnemonic (a symbol to help in remembering something). Sometimes I focus on the space between the two tips. It reminds me to always allow space between an action and my reaction. Other times I focus on the symbol as a whole, on the fact that it resembles an empty bowl.
Usually emptiness has a negative connotation. It refers to the lack of something. In the Buddhist tradition emptiness does not denote lack, it actually refers to the potential of everything. What?! How can emptiness mean everything? Well, when you are handed an empty glass what can you do with it? You could fill it with pop, with wine, with ice cream, with jewels, with poison. That glass has the potential to be filled with anything you choose. Think about that; the glass is empty, you make a choice then the glass becomes full. You have changed the situation through your thoughts. That’s pretty cool! There’s a lot of power in that choice. You can choose something that’s pleasurable like ice cream or something that’s dangerous like poison. All of that power is in your hands.
Can we use that power anywhere else? What about, instead of controlling a physical object we try controlling a situation? Think of a tough situation that you have experienced, could you have used the power of emptiness to change the outcome? One of my tough situations is driving. I ride a Spyder (a three-wheeled motorcycle). I like to go fast, very fast, too fast. When I get stuck behind a slow vehicle I get impatient and angry. My heart races, I get flushed and I start swearing; the joy of the ride is gone. Why ride if there is no joy? I’ve taken the empty vessel of a ride and ruined it by filling it with anger and frustration. What if I had chosen to slow down and enjoyed the view? What details of the view might have enriched my life? My ride would have been filled with joy rather than the poison of pointless anger. That power was in my hands.
That power is in your hands. Does that scare you? Does it scare you that you have the potential to create anything? It scares me. Now I have to take responsibility for my choices. I can’t blame outside circumstances for my current situation. It also excites me. I can harness that power, the power of emptiness to create the life I want.
I tend to be logical, scientific-minded. If I’m going to believe something there better be some proof; I don’t take things on faith. I started studying Buddhism when my marriage was ending. I was lost and Buddhism seemed interesting. That’s where I learned about the tenet of emptiness. It sounded “right” to me but I still wasn’t fully sold on it. Then I started reading “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” by Dr. Joe Dispenza. In this book he introduces the reader to the quantum field. Basically, scientists have learned that electrons do not have fixed positions. Their location is based on potential. It is only when the electron is observed for measurement that it exists in a specific location. Wow! The observer is causing the electron to come in to existence at a certain point. The act of observation creates the reality of the location of the electron.
It seems to me that the Buddhist tenet of emptiness is another way of expressing the power of potential. “All situations are empty until I choose what to fill the situation with” (Buddhist thought) is the same as “I create reality by making an observation” (quantum field). I like that idea. I like having the power to create the life I want by focussing on what I want.
I haven’t figured out how to fully use this power. I still struggle with insecurity, with doubts about my self-worth. I still wonder why we exist, what’s the point. Becoming aware of the power of potential is one thing, actually using it to achieve my dream life is not a skill I have, yet. I’m going to figure it out. When I do, I will be sharing. Have you figured this out?